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A drowsy driver is a dangerous motorist

All New York area motorists can probably recall a time when they felt like nodding off behind the wheel. Though many manage to remain awake and make it safely to their destination, some drowsy drivers are not as fortunate.

Drowsy motorists are a very big danger on the roads. Their actions often lead to catastrophic car accidents, life-threatening injuries and death. To better understand the dangers of drowsy driving, drivers should review the following information.

Crash rates increase with less sleep

It may be difficult or impossible to get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. However, drivers should know that just two hours less, a total of six out of 24 hours, makes them twice as likely to be in an accident as drivers who slept at least seven hours. The less a motorist sleeps, the higher the crash rates rise.

The effects of drowsy driving

Drowsy motorists often have the same physical characteristics as alcohol-impaired drivers. Sleepy and intoxicated drivers have slower reaction times, lower levels of awareness and are less likely to recognize hazards and avoid near-miss situations.

It is important not to dismiss drowsy driving as falling asleep behind the wheel. Some sleepy drivers remain awake but are not fully conscious of what they see. Others may black out for a few seconds or longer, only to awaken upon impact in a collision.

Signs of drowsy driving

There are ways drivers can stay safe when they become too tired to drive safely, but first, they must recognize when they are sleepy. Common symptoms of drowsy driving include:

  • Nodding off

  • Frequent yawning

  • Drifting in lane

  • Feelings of irritability and restlessness

  • Poor recall of traffic signs, exits and destination

  • Unfocused and wandering thoughts

Drivers should avoid rushing and allow for extra travel time. Pulling over to the side of the road, taking frequent breaks and drinking caffeinated beverages can help to reduce drowsiness. By getting more sleep, motorists can avoid the prevent drowsy driving accidents.

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